Read This Before You Vote

AZ Rep Article today summarizing candidates’ forums.AZ Rep candidates on budget0001

I spent nearly an hour and a half meeting with Goodyear Finance Director Larry Lange last Friday.  The meeting was set up by Interim Mayor Pizzillo after I complained to Pizzillo that City Manager John Fischbach had misled candidates running for office in his critique of an article that I had published in the AZ Republic on January 21, 2011.

In his email to candidates (Fischbach Brodbeck emails re budgets0001) Fischbach presented evidence to make the claim that Goodyear had reduced General Fund Expenditures by $14.2 million while General Fund Revenues had decreased only $13.8 million.  The only trouble with Fischbach’s logic was that he was quoting budget figures not actual figures.  This would be like saying, “I planned to earn $20,000 in 2008 and I now plan to earn $25,000 in 2011 so I am $5,000 better off”.  If you were clear in your own mind that you were speaking in terms of your “wish list” you could say this even if in reality you had earned only $10,000 in 2008 and you now had a job which earned only $1,000 in 2011 so you were actually $9,000 WORSE off.

It is absurd logic.

And that is the absurd logic we are dealing with in Goodyear these days.  From Georgia Lord telling candidate forum attendees that I do not know what I am talking about, to William Stipp actually quoting from Fischbach’s email and making the claim that everything is fine, to Joanne Osborne first saying we are running surpluses (YIPPEE! says Joanne) and then saying that construction sales tax is down $20 mil when it has never been higher than $17 million total.

Director Lange and I sparred for about an hour, we threw each other’s numbers and perspectives at each other, he brought in his budget manager, Terry Canada, for support and at the end of the day, Goodyear Finance Director Lange finally had to agree with my analysis, although he said he needed to do “some checking”.

What we agreed on prior to his “some checking” was the following;

  1. Despite the concerted and best efforts of city management and employees, since 2008, actual city General Fund Operating Expenditures have remained flat at about $50 million. (as compared to the current 2010-11 Budget).
  2. At the same time, General Fund Operating Revenues have dropped precipitously by at least 17% excluding Construction Sales Tax and have dropped over 30% with the CST included, to a current budget estimate ex-CST of approximately $53 mil.
  3. This spend to revenue discontinuity is unsustainable long term and is compounded by continued operating losses and debt service from the stadium.

So there you have it.  Goodyear has not really reduced General Fund spending by any measure, compared to how much revenue it has lost. The incumbents don’t want you to know that.  They do not what you to know that they don’t know enough about what they are even looking at to challenge the misinformation that City Manager John Fischbach has been shoveling them for years now.  The bottom line is that I am correct in my analysis and Fischbach is  misleading the candidates and thereby the voters.  Georgia Lord still does not even understand what we are talking about.

Being a loyal public servant Director Lange would not go quite that far, however.

One more thing.  Larry never did get back to me after “checking some things”.  He wrote in an email when I inquired how long it was going to take after I had waited two days for his reply that he had “other priorities”.  Translation; after he reported back to Pizzillo and Fischbach they knew they were beaten and now they don’t want to address this anymore.  He mentioned potential “account re-classifications”  from year to year.  I say what is published in the budget books is what it is and the General Fund is the General Fund.

As an olive branch, I offered to publish a joint statement from Director Lange and me so we could put all the finger pointing and rancor aside and make sure the candidates and the public have the facts.

Pizzillo and company have not yet responded to my offer.

Are you tired of this, yet? Then vote for candidates who want to straighten out the mess that the incumbents have left us.  I recommend, Rassas, Freeman, Antonucci, Matlin and Bohm.


9 Responses

  1. Thanks for pointing this out for our readers, Tom. This demonstrates that the business community is behind the challengers because they are tired of the anti business climate in Goodyear which is hurting jobs and revenue. This is because Fischbach and the current council have refused to cut back General Fund expenses for the past 4 years (see my post Read This Before You Vote).

    And now, Tom’s comment and his speculation about everything non incumbent related. Remember, the developers are backing Lord and Campbell.

    Read this before you vote…you always talk about “special interest groups” he is the ultimate proof of special interest. What is the CTCA getting in return?

    he Cancer Treatment Center of America’s CEO David Viellette has decided to try and buy Goodyear’s City Council Election. He is pouring $9500 into advertising for his candidates. Is it a coincidence that these are the same candidates the former mayor endorsed? Or a coincidence that the former mayor played a large part in giving the CTCA an $85million tax break. The CTCA also just paid for 42 acres next to their land, and Cavanaugh reality brokered the deal. Are they trying to buy council so they can get a new tax break on their new land for future developments?
    > click on 2011 independent expenditures
    > Below is the business/land deal link

    This story appears to be from January…. old news.

    • So it’s OK to be endorsed by a business man who benefited from an $85 million tax break but not from developers who actually bring in sales tax revenue?????!!!!!!!!!!!!! There is a reason the developers picked them, they feel they can bring in businesses.

      You are contradicting yourself my friend.

      Second, if Goodyear is so “business unfriendly” why did the restaurants have there second best period (2nd only to March’s spring training) last month? Why was retail up 11% or so? Guess guess those tax rates that are equal to our surrounding cities don’t scare away everyone like you though.

      • That is absolutely correct, Tom. It is Ok for ongoing businesses but not as OK for developers in Arizona. Our problem in Arizona today is over development led by public officials who have catered to real estate developers’ every whim. Take CFDs for example. Why should the city of Goodyear sell bonds in order to reduce developers up front costs and thereby their risk and make putting in new real estate projects less risky than they should be. Even your own candidates, Lord, Osborne, Laruitano have agreed in public forums that past reductions in developers’ risk by offering the CFDs is part of the problem.
        That is very different from private business people who bid the benefit of their ongoing business to many localities and go with the best offer. Now, I am not saying that our present city council members did the appropriate due diligence to see if as you claim $85 mil was needed to attract a business, after all this time, my inclination is that it was probably way too sweet.
        That said, you are just making my point AGAIN. Get rid of the incumbents. Let’s start over.

  2. I cut and pasted that from a comment on AZ central…looks legit and it is very disconcerting if it is true.

  3. old news but shady at the very least,…………….

  4. I have a question for everyone why do we pay Mr.Fischbach our so called City Manager such a high salary when he has done veey little if anything to improve our budget problems and what do any of thoes who are running for office or are in office going to do about him???

  5. Thanks, Fred. Nice to have people who will write comments and sign their actual names. Not like our friend Tom who appears to be a city employee.

    To get rid of Fischbach, I think you would have to start with the city council. They can keep him or fire him.

  6. Seems to me Mr Fischbach is doing plenty right now. The 5-2 votes in Council the last few years has been Fischbach playing his pawns – the incumbents. He has more power than any paid employee should have. If you read Mrs Lords responses in the article linked above, she is going to give him even more power. All her answers say she will go to Mr Fischbach and let him run the budget. She has said that in forums too. He is the expert and that is what she thinks he is there for. To me that is very scary. She is not qualified to be the CEO of the city and the charter states that the mayor IS the CEO of the city, so yes, you should need a degree to be on council. You are running a budget and a city Mrs Lord. Not letting someone else make decisions while you have your photo taken.

    I think we need a Mayor and Council with their own ideas and solutions. Educated business people. CTCA and Snyder’s realizes Goodyear is in a downward spiral and they are willing to step up and do something about it.

  7. Alan, thanks for putting this on your blog.

    […] Read This Before You Vote « howardsgoodyearblogFeb 16, 2011 … Read this before you vote…you always talk about “special interest … =CANCER%2520TREATMENT%2520CENTERS%2520OF%2520AMERI CA%2520BUYS%252042% … […]

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